This study examines the social changes that took place in Southern Rhodesia after the arrival of the British South Africa Company in the 1890s. Summer’s work focuses on interactions among settlers, the officials of the British South America Company and the administration, missionaries, humanitarian groups in Britain, and the most vocal or noticeable groups of Africans. Through this period of military conquest and physical coercion, to the later attempts at segregationist social engineering, the ideals and justifications of Southern Rhodesians changed drastically. Native Policy, Native Education policies, and, eventually, segregationist Native Development policies changed and evolved as the white and black inhabitants of Southern Rhodesia (colonial Zimbabwe) struggled over the region’s social form and future.
Summers’s work complements a handful of other recent works reexamining the social history of colonial Zimbabwe and demonstrating how knowledge, perception, and ideologies interacted with the economic and political dimensions of the region’s past.